In a remote corner of South Sudan—where I was running a medical program with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in 2008—I was called to a difficult birth in the middle of the night. When I arrived our doctor and midwife were trying to resuscitate the baby. I quickly realized that they didn’t know how and I intervened. We started giving the baby breaths and he soon started breathing on his own.
This experience affected me deeply. I thought of all the health workers across the world who face the anguish of a newborn not breathing and don’t know how to help. It’s an infrequently needed but life-saving skill—a skill every birth attendant needs to know.
I imagined video zooming in on that relatively simple resuscitation procedure—showing health workers how a limp blue newborn can come alive with breaths. It’s extraordinary to see. I knew if health workers could see that, they would never forget it. It was in that moment that the first seeds of Global Health Media Project were planted.
I knew real-life video had the power to teach like no other medium. I also knew there were very few videos addressing the realities faced by health workers in low-resource settings. This was a huge gap.
I imagined video … showing health workers how a limp blue newborn can come alive with breaths. … I knew if they could see that, they would never forget it.
At first I tried to interest some of the larger global health organizations in producing videos but they weren’t receptive to a new approach at that time. As I would re-visit my experience with that infant resuscitation, I knew the world couldn’t wait for the big players to get on board. I had no background in video production but knew this could be the answer to critical training gaps that were being faced by frontline health workers every day.
With limited financial resources, I assembled a small, talented, and dedicated team of people to create life-saving health care teaching videos for the developing world. Our clarity of vision, commitment and sense of urgency propelled us forward over many obstacles from funding to production challenges. But we persevered knowing the impact we could make on the global health community.
From the first video, we learned these tools were resonating with the needs of global health organizations and health workers as we received extraordinary testimonials and feedback. Our videos are being shared widely and finding their way onto new websites and into the hands of frontline health workers. As of now (September 2014), we have completed 31 videos in six languages that have been watched over a million times, but we are really just beginning and eager to accomplish so much more.
Thank you for taking an interest in our work and our mission—to help save lives, one health care teaching video at a time.
Learn more about how you can become involved.